Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday flew in a Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in Bengaluru from HAL Airport. Rajnath Singh, 68, sat in the rear seat behind the pilot in the cockpit of the two-seater fighter jet. Air Vice Marshal Narmadeshwar Tiwari, Project Director (Flight Test), National Flight Test Centre, flew the aircraft. Rajnath Singh has become the first defence minister to fly in Tejas aircraft. Before taking off for a 30-minute sortie, Rajnath Singh was acquainted with the air prowess of LCA Tejas by the pilots of the 45 Squadron Flying Daggers. For his part, the defence minister also tried to familiarise himself with the formidable fighter jet developed completely in India.
— ANI (@ANI) September 19, 2019
Tejas has been designed and developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Aeronautical Development Agency. The induction of this single-engine fighter will allow the IAF to replace the MiG-21 Bison aircraft. In 2017, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had cleared the acquisition of 83 LCA Tejas Mk1A aircraft and the HAL has also ramped up the production of the jet from eight per year to 16. It is to be noted that out of the 83 Tejas aircraft, 10 would be twin-seater version and the IAF will use these aircraft for the training of its pilots.
On September 13, 2019, the naval version of Tejas made a wire-arrested landing at Shore-based Test Facility (SBTF) INS Hansa in Goa. The DRDO had called the wire-arrested landing a "golden letter day" in the history of Indian Naval Aviation.